A Social History of Truth: Civility and Science in Seventeenth-Century England / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from BN.com
$33.25
Buy Used
Buy Used from BN.com
$24.93
(Save 28%)
Item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging.
Condition: Used – Good details
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $7.99
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 77%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (16) from $7.99   
  • New (7) from $32.97   
  • Used (9) from $7.99   

Overview

How do we come to trust our knowledge of the world? What are the means by which we distinguish true from false accounts? Why do we credit one observational statement over another? In A Social History of Truth, a leading scholar addresses these universal questions through an elegant recreation of a crucial period in the history of early modern science: the social world of gentlemen-philosophers in seventeenth-century England. Steven Shapin paints a vivid picture of the relations between gentlemanly culture and scientific practice. He argues that problems of credibility in science were solved through the codes and conventions of genteel conduct: trust, civility, honor, and integrity. These codes formed, and arguably still form, an important basis for securing reliable knowledge about the natural world. Shapin explains how gentlemen-philosophers resolved varying testimony about such phemonema as comets, icebergs, and the pressure of water by bringing to bear practical social knowledge and standards of decorum. For instance, while "vulgar" divers reported they experienced no crushing pressure no matter how deep into the sea they dived, gentlemen-philosophers preferred the evidence of crushed pewter bottles. Shapin uses richly detailed historical narrative to make a powerful argument about the establishment of factual knowledge both in science and in everyday practice. Accounts of the mores and manners of gentlemen-philosophers illustrate Shapin's broad claim that trust is imperative for constituting every kind of knowledge. Knowledge-making is always a collective enterprise: people have to know whom to trust in order to know something about the natural world. A Social History of Truth is a bold theoretical and historical exploration of the social conditions that make knowledge possible in any period and in any endeavor.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Shapin argues that the validity and trust we place in today's scientific endeavors evolved to a large extent out of the gentlemen's codes of civility in 17th-century England. Science was a gentleman's pastime, and when an idea was disputed gentlemen appropriated the civil codes of their time to solve the dispute. Shapin, best known for Leviathan and the Air-Pump: Hobbes, Boyle and the Experimental Life (Princeton Univ. Pr., 1985), opens this book with a very complete and sometimes difficult-to-read introduction to the questions of what civility, truth, trust, and moral order are. The rest can be read separately as a history of gentlemanly conduct and gentlemanly science as a means of finding truth. Shapin also discusses Robert Boyle as an example of a gentleman scientist. Offering a new way to look at early modern science, Shapin presents an intellectual history of a formative period of English science to illustrate a source of the collective trust we place in scientific truth. Recommended for history and philosophy collections.-Eric D. Albright, Galter Health Sciences Lib., Northwestern Univ., Chicago
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226750194
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/1995
  • Series: Science and Its Conceptual Foundations series Series
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 512
  • Sales rank: 1,425,873
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Notes on Genres, Disciplines, and Conventions
The Argument Summarized
1 The Great Civility: Trust, Truth, and Moral Order 3
2 "Who Was Then a Gentleman?" Integrity and Gentle Identity in Early Modern England 42
3 A Social History of Truth-Telling: Knowledge, Social Practice, and the Credibility of Gentlemen 65
4 Who Was Robert Boyle? The Creation and Presentation of an Experimental Identity 126
5 Epistemological Decorum: The Practical Management of Factual Testimony 193
6 Knowing about People and Knowing about Things: A Moral History of Scientific Credibility 243
7 Certainty and Civility: Mathematics and Boyle's Experimental Conversation 310
8 Invisible Technicians: Masters, Servants, and the Making of Experimental Knowledge 355
Epilogue: The Way We Live Now 409
Bibliography 419
Index 467
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)